Never forget a password again: Why every business (and person) needs a knowledge base

When it comes to recording and storing personal or work-related information that needs to be referenced regularly, a knowledge base can do it all.

Generally speaking, a knowledge base is a centralised source of information such as a library or database. As programmers, we often use software to manage our knowledge base which holds information required for our business processes and functions.

Knowledge management is about systematically organising data, facts and information that applies to your business. A knowledge base can house material that helps to solve a common business problem, such as instructional data, allows for more efficient processes and saves time.

Think of your knowledge base as a kind of intranet – the information is stored purely for internal business use and is not made public.

A knowledge base can be used to store:

  • Passwords and login details
  • Information about business-related accounts
  • Code snippets (e.g. code that was tricky or took you a long time to figure out)
  • Client data, including contact details and other client-facing information
  • Documents
  • Interesting blog posts or articles that serve as helpful resources
  • Answers to questions you have previously solved (e.g. formulas, responses to frequently asked questions etc)
  • How-to guides (e.g. how to fill in a time sheet, how to log an IT service request etc)
  • Lessons you’ve learned 
  • To-do lists. Or any kind of list, for that matter
  • Notes about specific processes and procedures 
  • Meeting minutes.

But you’re probably wondering why you even need a knowledge base. Here are some of the benefits:

A Personal Knowlegdebase

Solve problems quickly

Keeping a knowledge base can help your business make better and faster decisions because the experience of your staff members can be shared with peers. Solutions to problems can be documented in a knowledge base and be used as a future reference point if that same problem is encountered. 

Boost productivity

If details are logged in a knowledge base, workers can quickly access the data for use in a timely and efficient manner, increasing output and saving time to get other tasks done. Gone are the days scanning through old word documents or folders trying to find those database login details – they can be stored safely in an easy-to-search knowledge base.

Save time and money

A well-organised knowledge base can save a business money because it means employees will spend less time trying to find that frequently used data or figuring out how to solve a common problem. 

Encourage collaboration

Empower your staff members by giving them a platform to share ideas and efficient processes. It allows them to work on content together and encourages an open and collective work style. It will give businesses the chance to increase employee engagement and give employees the chance to have a ‘voice’ within their workplace.

Confluence Overview Create Discuss

Knowledge base programs

Some business may already have a platform available that can work as a knowledge base – check with your IT manager to see if you already have an intranet with this functionality. If you don’t have this option, here are some examples of programs that can be used as a knowledge base:

OneNote: Clip content from the web and store notes, recipes and to-do lists. It integrates easily with Outlook, is easy to organise and syncs with SkyDrive and Office WebApps.

EverNote: Useful for online sharing as it is a cloud-based program. Collect images, files and web research and keep it all in the one place.

Confluence: Create anything your team needs, from meeting minutes to product requirements, articles and file lists.

Google Sites: a Google Sites page can be used to store notes, passwords, account details, best practices, how-to guides and incident reports. It allows for collaborative modification and can be accessed via a web browser. Everything is indexed, so it’s easy to search and find what you’re looking for. Simply use your Google account to get started.

Other programs that you could use as a knowledge base include TrellocurionvALTDokuWiki and MediaWiki.

Do you need help creating a knowledge base for your business? Contact inoutput today.